November 15, 2006

Dressin' Up the Pie

Do your pie charts look more like mud pies? Have you been using the default settings from your favorite business application a bit too frequently? If so, here's a different twist on the idea of business graphics that you can use to spruce them up a tad. Try embedding a relevant stock business photo into your chart like this example: You can use your favorite graphic editor such as Photoshop, Visio, or even PowerPoint to accomplish the task by overlaying a transparent chart over your photo and cropping out the area that is outside of the chart. When selecting an image, pick one that represents the key point you are making. In this example, user represents the major slice of the pie chart, namely the view that operator and application error are the biggest reason behind the technical problem presented. This technique not only will spruce up your charts but also help your reader retain key messages longer that you want to deliver with your white paper content. After all, while a picture may be worth a thousand words, who wants to have to come up with the other 990 just to get your point across? Have you ever used this technique in your white papers? We'd be interested in hearing your story.

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